Image of grass field

Can good old grass save us?

Our environment and farmlands are at risk – and planting trees to capture carbon may seem like the best option, however, we believe that it is a mistake to push grass aside for more glamorous yet riskier carbon-sequestering initiatives.

Additional to the carbon problem, it’s estimated that more than 24 billion tonnes of fertile topsoil are lost every year due to prolonged periods of being unused and that around 25% of the earth’s surface has become degraded – this needs to be addressed.

We believe that by utilising the unused soil on fallow fields and covering it with grass rather than turning pasture areas into trees, the world could be in a better place for future generations whilst offering real impact to farmers, supply chains, governments, and many more.

Agribot addresses these issues through accessible technology that provides stakeholders with insights that empower real and lasting change.

Precision agriculture should be available for the masses – a well-managed grassland can have a positive impact on farmers, governments, and the environment. Let us explain why we believe that grass should play a greater role than it is currently given.

Carbon Sequestering – are trees the best option?

The Earth’s soil is in a state of need, emissions are at alarming levels and our carbon footprint needs to be reduced.

According to Natural England:

“Repairing this damage to stop emissions and capture more carbon is an essential element of achieving net-zero.”

Planting more trees to absorb carbon dioxide has been at the forefront of many environmentalists’ ideas to help our ever declining environment, and there’s no doubt it is one of the best options to help restore oxygen in the atmosphere.

“Our review shows that a natural woodland composed of native species without active production management is a reliable way of capturing carbon and at the same time supporting the recovery of biodiversity.”

Whilst we don’t dismiss this as a viable option, and one that will be an essential part of achieving essential cuts to emissions as well as helping achieve net-zero, there are other options available that will be crucial to the earth’s survival. 

A study run in California discovered that “grasslands and rangelands are more resilient carbon sinks than forests in 21st century California” due to the ever-increasing issues trees are facing. Drought, fires, human use, and animals are all having huge impacts on our forests – humans more so than ever due to 80,000 acres being cut down every single day.

In that same study, it was said that: “Unlike forests, grasslands sequester most of their carbon underground, while forests store it mostly in woody biomass and leaves. When wildfires cause trees to go up in flames, the burned carbon they formerly stored is released back to the atmosphere. When fire burns grasslands, however, the carbon fixed underground tends to stay in the roots and soil, making them more adaptive to climate change.”

Currently, there are more than 430 million hectares of abandoned agricultural land unused partly due to the land no longer being fertile enough as a result of over-farming or the usage of biodiversity damaging treatments. 

If these unused lands were repurposed to grow grasslands, it would take an estimated 4.3 billion tons of carbon per year whilst also providing the soils with the nutrients they need to potentially return these once abandoned lands to a fertile crop yielding field.

Grass and regenerative farming

Anything we can do to help regenerate our world is a win, and it all begins with grass.

Regenerative farming revolves around practices to reverse climate change. For too long excessive pesticide use, short term focused farming practices, and the industrialisation of farming has put an excess of carbon into our soils and created an atmosphere where biodiversity is lacking.

Utilising unused land, and repurposing fields, to allow grass to grow could have a direct impact on our carbon footprint. As stated above, grass can help absorb carbon dioxide and repurpose it into our soil whilst exporting oxygen back into our atmosphere.

“By rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity – resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle.”

The impact this will have on farmers, and the world could be exponential. By regrowing grass on unused land, it will allow farmers to reduce their reliance on biodiversity damaging pesticides and treatments which over time will damage the effectiveness of their topsoils and potentially pollute water sources. 

According to studies, it’s estimated we’ll also have to produce more food in the next 35 years than ever before due to our growing population – and if historic and current practices continue we simply will not achieve sustainability. Regenerative farming, therefore, becomes key to food security and could benefit billions of people.

The Agribot platform allows you to identify potential issues before they are normally visible to the naked eye, which means farmers can use cheaper organic treatments which have a positive impact on biodiversity whilst doing away with blanket spraying – reducing a large cost in current farming techniques. 

This will also wholly benefit the supply chain problems the world is facing. It’s always been thought that ‘green’ practices would be a more expensive option for all, but regenerative farming will not only cut costs long term by reducing the need for most pesticides, it will also help farmers produce more on the land they currently have.

Summary

Grass could be the answer to problems worldwide including our declining environment, food security, and the viability of farming.

By implementing regenerative farming, and utilising unused land for grass, our world could be wholly more healthy.

We are constantly pushing the boundaries when it comes to monitoring the food supply chain using satellites and AI. One of our main beliefs is that well-managed grasslands can really meet the needs of all our beneficiaries on a short and long-term basis and is too often overlooked.

Agribot is currently providing solutions that can help anyone that is interested in grazing, however, there are a variety of applications for our technology including managing green subsidies, commodities data and carbon credits.